The Polite Times™
|A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.|
|Vol VI, No 1||
Early Fall 2007
President’s Corner – How our Media Reinforces Negative Behavior
Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:
Ever wonder why children are getting ruder, as a general point? Well, I’ve had a new “teaching experience” for why that is. And, it’s out of the mouth of babes, as it were.
A popular cereal manufacturer is airing a series of commercials that are out-right obnoxious. In them, the grade-school main characters are encouraged to increase the amount of “damage” they can effect on a sister instead of “settling” for a minor incident, they chew with their mouths visibly open and they belch loudly during the spot to emphasize the size of the cereal’s punch. How do I know about this? My own children brought it to my attention. So far I’ve had the “joy” of viewing two different commercials of this ilk, but I’m certain the manufacturer is poised to treat us to more.
Now it’s no longer just the shows they are exposed to that are using less-than-edifying messages and character behavior. We have the “in-between” time to help reinforce the message that being rude is somehow funny and entertaining, and that it’s cool to pull cruel pranks on others.
I guess I should be glad that in the case of my kids, they are now knowledgeable enough to know that this behavior is gross and rude. I’ve been very involved in making sure they learn what is considered proper conduct and civility. But, what happens to the kids who may not have that same disciplined background? Or who don’t have parents whose actual business it is to act as a watchdog for this type of messaging? I mean, I have to do this – it’s my job. There are too many parents who don’t have the time to watch their children’s programs or who scan the newspapers and children’s magazines trying to identify what supports “civility” and good social skills and what doesn’t?
That’s my point. It’s a full-time job trying to make sure our kids are exposed primarily to the messages and content that help support our parenting goals: to raise good kids, with good character, and the ability to make good, independent decisions.
We could use a little help from those vendors and marketers who have our children’s eyes and ears. Sometimes they work “with” you and sometimes they work “agin” (against) you. See later in the newsletter for one such vendor that’s definitely supporting the right message.
As far as the “agin you” goes, I plan on writing the cereal manufacturer to let them know they are doing us a parenting disservice. I suggest those who have an issue with the message do the same. Send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll let you know who to contact and how if you feel inclined to write.
Let us hear from you so we know how we’re doing. You can always reach me directly at email@example.com.
Corinne Gregory, President & Founder
Now, here’s the complete opposite of the situation we showcased in the President’s Corner: a company that draws attention to what kids are doing right! Kudos to Chuck E. Cheeses for offering their “Chuck E. Cheese’s Magical Manners Rewards Chart!” This advertisement appeared in a recent Sunday paper as part of the coupon insert package and encourages kids to “Hang this chart on the fridge and mark off the days of magical manners.”
When a child has marked off 5 days of “Magical Manners” they bring the completed chart into their favorite Chuck E. Cheeses and receive 10 free game tokens!
At PoliteChild, we course LOVED this idea as it’s one we recommend using in several of our curricula! Chuck E. Cheese is reaching out to this new promotional area, consistent with their campaign to reward kids for positive behaviors, such as their earlier “Tokens for Grades,” “Homework Helper,” “Potty Training” and other offerings.
If you haven’t seen the Magical Manners Rewards Calendar, you can access it on-line directly from the Chuck E. Cheese website at: http://www.chuckecheese.com/promotions/rewards-calendars.php
It’s the start of the new school year, and all over the country, teachers are gearing up and getting ready for the onslaught. As your schools begin their planning for teacher development days (frequently called “in service” days),
Classroom management is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching, and the lack of discipline and order in the classroom environment is the number-one cited reason for teacher burnout and turnover. The purpose of this program is to provide teachers with the necessary skills to effectively manage their classrooms, increase productive teaching time, improve student learning opportunities, and reduce stress on teachers and students alike.
Topics covered in this course include:
Classes are interactive and teachers will come away with practical, “hands on” tips and techniques they can use immediately in their classrooms to build a more harmonious, cooperative, and productive learning environment.
Our qualified instructors come to your location and work with your teachers, administrators and support staff. This course runs a standard 3-hour session, with breaks, but we can also customize our class to cover additional topics to fit your needs and schedule.
For more information or to arrange for a class for your school or
district, contact The PoliteChild at 425.485.4089 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, for information on our assemblies, Parent Information Night
programs, and more visit our website at www.politechild.com.
One of our regular features is to introduce and profile some of our licensees and/or educational partners. In this newsletter, we meet Lisa Finan, head of Courteous Child, based in Essex County, NJ.
As a new licensee, in Montclair, NJ – about 12 miles west of New York City – I will launch the Polite Child program to Early Learners and Grade schoolers as an after school enrichment class, from October through November, in five locations in Essex County. Two schools, an arts center, the YMCA, and a private facility. I will also hold three parent information seminars which will include a free Holiday Manners clinic in two parts.
As a cultural anthropologist, familiar with several languages, becoming a PoliteChild licensee was not exactly on my career agenda. Rather, it began as a class I wanted my kids to attend, but there were none available locally. So, as I compared the various manners programs and experts in the field, I chose PoliteChild because I would ultimately choose it for my own children. To my surprise, it was an appealing business model, too, that I could share, cultivate and shepherd to families, schools and organizations here in the northeast. And I could continue to benefit from it financially long into the future. Other manners programs may have had well-intended experts at the helm, but none could offer me a job! The PoliteChild has become a dream job for me in that I estimate it will provide me with a substantial income for less than part time work. I can also work near my children; so no long commute. And, I am available to mother them because my hours are reasonable. Plus, I know that I am doing meaningful work in being “part of the solution” to what I call the “national epidemic of incivility” – which is vital to me at this stage in my career. In order for work to sustain, it has got be meaningful.
For me, the PoliteChild is a program – in tremendous demand – that teaches more than just elbows off the table. The curriculum is substantial and the program comprehensive because it addresses the issue of incivility systematically. The PoliteChild – and rightly so – invites everyone in the “village” to be part of the solution, since it is the kids, family, media, school and community at large that play a role in the problem.
It's about kindness to peers, parents and teachers. Whether in the classroom. At the dinner table. Or other social settings. Yes, it covers the basics like please and thank you. Holding the door open for others. Learning how to disagree without being disagreeable. Saying hello when you meet people. But an education in character will see this generation of children through a lifetime of uncertainty and challenges in the context of globalization.
Knowing that we gave our children this invaluable gift will allow them to become confident, kind, and poised, young Americans of the future to be proud of. After all, what good are highly educated kids without well-developed character and solid social skills? They will be equipped to cope with any future fellow employee – from Asia, Africa, Europe and elsewhere – because no matter what the cultural context, a well developed sense of courtesy and manners is a social currency that will always be welcome and valued. For someone else considering becoming a licensee or working with children in the area of social skills, I recommend that you love what you do. Only you will know it when it happens. Know it in your bones and take it from there as I did.
CourteousChild’s class schedule and
locations can be found on their website
|Book Review: The Kid’s Guide to Becoming the Best You Can Be!|
As indicated in the subtitle, this book by Jill Frankel Hauser focuses on “Developing the 5 traits you will need to achieve your personal best.” The book is organized along these five traits, including “Making the Most of Who You Are” and “Going After Knowledge,” but delves into sub-topics within these major areas. For example, in “Going After Knowledge,” there are specific areas discussed such as “Curiosity,” “Sharing what you know, ” and “Enthusiasm.”
The book is, therefore, not dedicated to social skills education, but in the last section does take on traditional “virtues-based” topics such as Caring and Respect. But the subject matter is much broader, and seems to be directed foremost to individual achievement, and not so much the interpersonal success we’d ideally like to see by developing skills of social interaction and cultivating an awareness and considerations of others in our circle. In other words, while the book does have some lessons that are good to consider for a social skills or character education reference, it appears to be more “me-centric” than “us-centric,” which is the cornerstone of what PoliteChild is attempting to cultivate in our young people.
Also, the book promotes itself as being appropriate for 8-13 year old readers. While the text is certainly written at the right level and tone for this age group, the illustrations may be somewhat young and “cartoon-like” for today’s frequently jaded pre-teen set. Young readers may decide it’s not “cool” enough for their liking and may entirely reject the book for this reason without even giving the valuable life-lessons within it a chance.
This book is part of the “Kids Can!” series of publications
by Ideals Publications out of Nashville, TN. We found it in our local
library and we imagine you’ll be able find it easily enough,
since it was published only recently, in 2006.
It’s that time of year – school is starting, the nip of Fall is in the air, soon the frost will be on the pumpkin. …and you know what’s next soon thereafter? The holidays! And, it’s never too soon to start planning ahead!
Our Holiday Manners Guides have been such a hit in years past, so much so that we have offered them as a permanent feature from our website. Still, there are many readers who are discovering them for the first time and we get requests for them throughout the year.
To download a copy of the “Holiday Social Survival Guide” for parents and kids that is appropriate for your child’s age, simply go to the home page at www.politechild.com and scroll down on the right of the page where you’ll see the image of the booklet. Click on the image and follow directions to be taken to the download site. And, feel free to share the information about the guide with friends, family, or anyone you think can benefit! It’s our way of saying “thank you” to our friends and supporters. We do ask, of course, that you not use the guides or the information in them in a commercial way: it just wouldn’t be polite, now would it?
We do offer Holiday Manners classes that can be held in your community
center, school, or even your home if you want an interactive teaching
session! Feel free to contact us at email@example.com for classes
in your area, or to inquire about hosting a holiday manners class of
|No PoliteChild Class in Your Area? We Come to YOU!|
Not a day goes by without someone asking us where they can join a PoliteChild class in their area. The good news is, our regional reach is expanding, but it’s not nearly enough! One option available to parents, community or school leaders, and/or local organizations is to host a PoliteChild class of your own. Yes, we will travel to YOU to provide the best in social skills education to your group!
But, you may wonder, how do I do this? It’s easier than you may think.
To “host” a class, you are responsible for finding and booking a location and the group to teach. For most classes, we require either a student minimum or, for a custom class, we usually have a set fee that must be met. Locations vary depending on the size of the group, but can include: homes, community or church centers, school classrooms, etc. We schedule the date around when you organize it, and then we arrive on the date(s) and conduct the class, bringing all the necessary materials.
As a thank you for organizing the class, we allow you to send one child free for each “minimum threshold” you meet – this may be for a certain number of students (for example, with a “Parent Organizer” specials where you can send one child free for every five additional students you bring in, if we have a local resource in your area)! Most of the time the organizers choose to send their own child, but you can send other kids you designate as a “sponsorship” if you prefer.
If travel is involved, we have other programs that host us “workshop style” for a reasonable fee. Again, we make it easy and financially practical for your group, and we can accommodate nearly anyone’s budget.
For more information on this or any PoliteChild programs, can reach
us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 866.485.4089.
|What would you like to see?|
The PoliteTimes is continually adding more readers and gaining a broader audience, but we’re continually striving to offer you the right information, news and tips for our newsletters that are interesting and relevant.
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